Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Slipping Through The Cracks

Yesterday was one of those days. You know the ones. Everything goes wrong.

By 10am I'd already broken a mug, stepped on Lego and lost the remote control amongst a sea of toys.

By 12pm I'd missed an important phone call, slipped in the shower, burned Tricky's lunch, thrown it out and burned the second lot too.

At 2pm we headed to the doctors for Tricky's one year immunizations.

Why do doctors surgeries insist on packing patients in to ten minute slots then spending half an hour with each person? Keeping a toddler amused for an hour in a place with no toys and three torn books is a particularly sadistic form of torture.

So we finally get in there to see the amazing doctor, Dr B, who first picked up Tricky's sagittal craniosynostosis. It was like a little reunion of sorts with lots of head feeling and progress updates. All good.

I decided to get the whooping cough booster for myself so the doctor flicked over to my file on the computer and a big alert popped up on the screen.


"Abnormal Pap Test Result 2009"

My breathe caught in my throat and my heart started racing. Or maybe it stopped, I'm not sure.

2009? TWO YEARS AGO? How come I'm only being told now?

The doctor searched through the entries on the computer, showing them all to me. And there it was. Abnormal result.

In early 2009 I was seeing one doctor, Dr H, weekly for allergy desensitization injections. Under one of those visits he has typed "discussed abnormal pap result".

Ahh, no. That was never discussed. I'm pretty bloody sure I would have remembered someone saying that. I mean, wouldn't you?

I've also been back since then for two pregnancies - one of which resulted in Tricky, a flu shot, to get my stitches checked after Tricks was born and when I had gastro. NOTHING was ever mentioned. Not once.

So here I am, a mere three months away from getting that lovely letter that says it's time for a Pap smear, to be told the last one, TWO WHOLE FUCKING YEARS AGO, was abnormal.

How does that happen? How can these things slip through the cracks?

I'm not panicking, well, not properly. I'm pretty sure I had an extra Pap Test when I had my first Obstetrician appointment and I'm going to assume that since I saw him so often during my pregnancy that he would have mentioned something. He would have... wouldn't he?

But there is that corner of my mind that is whispering dark thoughts to me when it's quiet. It's the same part that jumps to conclusions; the same part that thinks maybe the OB assumed I'd already been told; the same part that thinks I'm a shit magnet when it comes to incompetent doctors.

43 comments:

  1. I am having trouble not feeling completely and utterly incensed at the incompetence, on your behalf. Holy hell, have they no brains some of them???? I am quite convinced, the longer I live and the more GP's I see (I try like anything to keep that to a minimum), that many of them do their medical degree because they're told in high school that they're smart and so they *could* be a doctor. Doesn't mean they *should* be a doctor, though, does it?! Far out.

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  2. Well yeah, i'd be pissed too. You would definitely remember that because if it comes back abnormal they send you for another. I had a friend who had an abnormal pap once and then she was on 3 monthly dildo cam pap's for 2 years because they needed to have that many clear pap's to say she was definitely clear. So honestly? I think maybe the Dr just wrote it down wrong. I mean surely it would be negligence. They have to send a letter to say it was clear so wouldn't they send a letter if it wasn't??

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  3. Oh shit honey. How scary! I hope it turns out that you DID have an extra one and that was okay ... keep us posted okay?

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  4. Far out!! That's just so worrying. I'd be really annoyed too. That dark corner of one's mind is a powerful one and if you had been told about this nearly two years ago you might have already been able to put it all to rest. Hugs.

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  5. Wow, that really sucks. I just don't know what to say. I can't believe that something like that could slip through the cracks. I really hope that all is ok for you. *hugs*

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  6. Oh thats ridiculous. I can't believe that it was never mentioned! I hope that they figure out if you did have an extra or not and can check it ASAP. I have lost all faith in Dr's over the last few years.
    Thinking of you xx

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  7. That is so not OK how can they miss something like that!

    Hope everything is fine hunni im sure it will be
    and you are not alone with days like that, those are the days i lock myself from the world and all social networking lol
    xxx

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  8. Holy crap, how utterly incompetent!!! On the plus side, seeing as though pregnancy is rather intrusive, I am sure quite a bit has been checked out in the interim. 

    I started seeing a new DR at the Medical Centre I go to and he picked up my high BP, but apparently there were notes on my file relating to it almost a year before - AND NO ONE TOLD ME! I could have had one more year under my belt of trying to get this sorted.

    Wish you well on this little quest lovely Glowless!

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  9. Me 'N my MonkeysJune 21, 2011 at 9:58 AM

    ((Hugs))
    Hope all turns out well!  x

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  10. i had an abnormal one about 7 years ago, and then got reffered to KEMH for another type of pap smear. THEY never passed on the results to my gp. PMH NEVER gave the results for Miss 8 blood test to see if she was a carrier of a genetic mutation that the other 2 have. I had to get my GP to chase after the results BOTH times.

    But I have found a great gp, but its a pity that she's all the way in Noranda.

    which reminds me, I really should book in for a pap smear, i think its been about 5 years since my last.

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  11. That is unacceptable. And absolute bullshit! I hope it all works out okay, big hugs to you x

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  12. That's shit!! How on earth can there never have been a mention of something so important?? I hope this doctor has arranged to firstly; have you checked again and secondly; find out why this went unmentioned. Completely unacceptable. Hugs to you x

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  13. I'd be in there demanding answers and a retest immediately!
    My own abnormal test (1990) was followed up immediately with further testing, biopsy and surgery. Then a year of monthly testing.

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  14. oh crap glowless. that is is shitty.... try not to stress to much - keep positive. i had an abnormal test once and had to go back soon after for a repeat which came back normal. it was definitely a stressful time though but all worked out well in the end as i'm sure yours will too! positive vibes your way xxx
    oh and thank you for reminding me that i am very overdue for mine :)

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  15. Days like that you could make a movie out of. the abnormal pap and incompetent doctors makes me really mad but what I feel the most sorry for you over is standing on lego - that shit really hurts!!! Hoping all works out ok.

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  16. Oh, that's so scary. Maybe it's a computer glitch and that result didn't belong there in the first place? If they are that incompetent,that wouldn't be a surprise. I'll keep my fingers crossed that everything is ok. 

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  17. Leanne Shea LangdownJune 22, 2011 at 6:36 AM

    OMG! Are you serious? I'm sure it's fine Glowy ... but still ... Oh Em Gee.  That's a bloody big crack in the system ... keep us posted.

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  18. I keep my GP visiting to a minimum too, for the exact same reason. I'm so tired of incompetent dickheads who think they know everything because they've got a certificate on the wall.

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  19. That's what's really annoyed me... I should have been sent for another if it came back abnormal and I wasn't.
    I'm not sure about other states, but we don't get letters sent about the result be it normal or abnormal.
    A woman from the NSW Pap Test Registry contacted me via Twitter and said it's sadly very common for women not to be told their result was abnormal. Disgusting.

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  20. There were that many tests I don't remember exactly... I'm going again this week, just to be sure :)

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  21. Thanks, I'm sure it will be. But a nice little panic moment seeing it on the screen took a few years off my life!

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  22. I used to wonder why people didn't go to the doctor when they were sick... I know now.

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  23. I do the opposite. I just sit inside on Twitter and pretend everything is OK :) Not really working for me, but hey, what else can I do?
    I'm sure all will be good x

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  24. That's disgusting Donna. How are we meant to be looking after our health when our results aren't told? A year with high BP that could have been treated... just awful.

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  25. I'm sure it will, but it was one hell of a hiccup.

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  26. Don't start me on PMH.

    Do go for a pap smear, few minutes of discomfort is worth it.

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  27. Thanks, Kellie. I'm sure it will all be good. With that much prodding and poking around in pregnancy, surely it would have been mentioned if something was wrong (keep telling myself that anyway!)

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  28. Thanks, Becky. The doctor who didn't tell me is the owner of the medical centre... so I'm not sure how far it would go if I made a complaint. He seems to be "all seeing all knowing" according to the staff.

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  29. My aunty had a similar experience with abnormal result and biopsy then three million more tests. Not fun, but way more fun than cervical cancer.

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  30. Yes go and get one!
    It's the "what ifs" that are getting to me now, two days after finding out. Waiting on appointment and staying positive. I know how often the abnormal results turn out to be a false reading or skewed by a yeast infection or the like.

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  31. Thanks, Sarah. Will know more this week, am expecting it will all be fine. Just wish I could turn my head off for a bit!

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  32. Thanks, Tiff. And yet if we ask to see our medical files they make us jump through hoops - afraid of what we'll find????? OK, so I've gone all conspiracy theory, oops.

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  33. Glen, to comment on this, you are divine. Thanks mate.

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  34. The one who didn't tell me the result but wrote that he did is the bloody owner!!! Will rip up any complaint I'm sure.

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  35. Gawd, even if she wasn't hungry or tired, they've just shoved a whopping great needle in her thigh! Some kids scream for twenty minutes after needles, normally the kids who have just had theirs done when I walk in the surgery :P

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  36. I'm sure it's fine too, but yeah, that sinking feeling... not nice.

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  37. That was my first thought, I got him to check people with the same name as me (there are two people with the same name at my dentist!) but there were none. It's my result... still doesn't mean it was a correct result, am going back to get a new one this week rather than waiting til it's due in 3-4 months.

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  38. What else is a blog for but for documenting medical fuckups?! :P

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  39. Was a nice way to finish off a crap day.

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  40. holy crap! omg! slap someone! 

    I've just been reading about the butcher of bega, I'm getting scared more and more now.

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  41. So what's happened now? Did you find out what was abnormal? Or are you now waiting? I hope not - get in ther and do another test and put your mind at ease. That is just not on. Sure everything is a-ok, but put your mind at rest, ok xx

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  42. Very scary, I know because I've been there but you should be alright, apparently it takes years to develop.

    I had an abnormal result in Oz and was told to get it checked again in a year, which I did in the UK. The UK result came back that I was clear but when I went back to visit Oz I decided to get checked again because honestly I'd had some bad experiences with the UK health service and didn't trust them. So my doctor offered me what they call a thin prep which is more accurate than a normal pap, the thin prep came back with the abnormal result and I was scheduled for a biopsy but the Dr said it looked ok and just to get checked again in 6 months. As I was leaving he told me he was also doing a dna test of the virus to see if it was high risk, I asked him what my chances were of developing cancer if it was high risk and he said 80%. So I went on my merry way and came back home to Belgium (moved from the UK at this point) then I get an e-mail saying the dna test came back as high risk and just to make sure I keep an eye on it. Well I was hysterical thinking I had an 80% chance of developing cancer and wondering why he didn't suggest surgery if I was so high risk. Then my friend who is a doctor informed me I was 80% more likely than the average person to develop cancer, not an 80% probability that I would develop cancer, yeesh!

    Anyway my Aussie doctor had registered me with some sort of database that keeps records on smear results and sends you letters when you are due etc. Your previous doctor should have signed you to this as they would have noticed that you had a bad result and hadn't followed up and would inform you so it acts as a fall back if the doctor messes up. Maybe it is only a NSW thing? I would also insist on the thin prep if your doctor didn't give you this one. Hope it all works out!

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  43. The database you refer to is the aforementioned NSW Pap Test Registry and there is one in every state.

    A high grade abnormality has only a 1% chance of developing into cancer. I think this is the most important thing a doctor can tell a patient with an abnormal result.
    I'm more than happy to pass along a fantastic brochure that we have that helps you to understand more about your result, there is a PDF version on our website.

    I'm sure you'll be fine Glowless, thankfully this latest doctor mentioned it and you're getting tested again this week.

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